A Message from Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes
Grown out of historian Carter G Woodson's "Negro History Week," February has been designated as "Black History Month" since 1976. The identified theme for 2021 is "The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity."
DCF has a storied history in our evolution. I remain proud of the continued efforts to understand each other in the context of our work. At the same time, DCF has consciously committed to addressing disproportionate outcomes and eliminating disparity experienced by the children, families and communities we serve. By developing leadership strategies that hold us all accountable, we will become the racially just agency that matches our espoused values of equity. Stay tuned for the next legislative report required by PA 18-111 which summarizes the Department's Racial Justice work.
For as much as we have celebrated our collective diversity, I am humbled as this week, our country has surpassed over 500,000 people who have died from COVID-19. This number hugely reflective of disparate impact of this deadly virus on communities of color. Our flags fly at half-staff in their honor.
It has been almost one year since the first individual in Connecticut tested positive for COVID-19. DCF has remained unwavering in providing services to our children and families. I remain in awe of the Department's entire workforce who have balanced the health and safety of their own families; some navigating distance learning with their children while others are caring differently for elderly relatives. This, all while conducting the many functions of our work. Tragedy has not escaped us. Many members of our workforce have lost family members and friends. Four of our foster parents have died from COVID-19.
This month's Spotlight on What's Right highlights three remarkable Department leaders and their efforts to keep us Safe & Sound. The work of Dr. Nicole Taylor, Attorney Erin Ryan and Program Director Yadira Ijeh has simply been nothing short of remarkable. From their contact tracing exercises to clarifying Centers for Disease Control's guidance to sharing public health metrics and sector rules, this trio has kept DCF informed. While working with other state agencies, developing messages, videos and supporting our staff-- we have been able to remain focused and strong.
Please join me in appreciation of this trio of amazing women leaders. DCF continues to conduct this mission critical work while maintaining the health and safety of our staff as well as the attention to the children and families we serve.
Read their stories and learn about their can-do attitudes that has held up the Department during this unprecedented time in our history. "For there is always LIGHT, If only we're brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to BE IT!" a gorman